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Radio France Internationale
Radio France Internationale

France arrests fugitive Italian mafia killer found posing as pizza chef

This undated and unalocated image provided by the Italian Carabinieri shows Edgardo Greco, a convicted murderer linked to Italy's most powerful organised crime group, the 'Ndrangheta, who was on the run for 16 years . © Interpol via AP

A convicted Italian killer, believed to belong to one of Italy's most powerful mafia organisations, was arrested in France on Thursday after 16 years on the run, according to international police agency Interpol.

Edgardo Greco, 63, is suspected of belonging to the notorious 'Ndrangheta, a powerful mafia organisation that originated in Calabria, southern Italy, and now operates worldwide.

Interpol said he was arrested in the French city of Saint-Etienne, where he had at one point run an Italian restaurant under an alias, according to French prosecutors.

He is wanted in Italy for the murders of two brothers, Stefano and Giuseppe Bartolomeo, who were beaten to death in 1991 as part of a dispute with rival gangs.

Greco is due to serve a life sentence for their killings, said Interpol.

He is also accused of the attempted murder of another man, Emiliano Mosciaro, during a "mafia war" in the early 1990s.

Greco had been on the run since 2006.

In June 2021, in Saint-Etienne, he became the owner of an Italian restaurant called Caffe Rossini Ristorante, running it until November 2021, French prosecutors said.

He used the name Paolo Dimitrio and also worked in other Italian restaurants in the city.

Local press covered the opening of the Caffe Rossini Ristorante, which now appears to have been closed down.

Greco also worked evenings in a pizza restaurant under his assumed name, according to Italian media.

Italian carabinieri and anti-Ndrangheta police officers talk at the Interpol headquarters in Lyon, central France on 2 February, 2023. © Interpol via AP

After his arrest in the early hours of the morning, he appeared before an investigating magistrate in Lyon who formally notified him of Italy's arrest warrant, prosecutors said.

He was then placed in detention and is awaiting extradition.

Greco's arrest came with help for Italy and France from the "Cooperation against 'Ndrangheta Project" (I-CAN) run by Interpol, which facilitates police cooperation between its 195 member states.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, quoted in Interpol's statement, said the arrests demonstrated his country's commitment to "fighting all forms of organised crime and locating dangerous fugitives".

The 'Ndrangheta is considered Italy's most extensive and powerful mafia group, Interpol said, operating worldwide and with strong ties to the trade in cocaine bound for Europe from South America.

Recent arrests

The arrest of Greco came a week after Italian police said it had dismantled a 'Ndrangheta mafia ring dominating a large area of southern Calabria and seized assets exceeding 250 million euros.

Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.

Greco's arrest also came just over two weeks after Italian police arrested one of the most notorious bosses of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra mafia, Matteo Messina Denaro, who had been on the run for 30 years.

(with AFP)

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